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School board kicks off the year

It was an early Tuesday morning for students at Worthington Middle School for the official first day of school. Prairie Elementary and Worthington High School also started Tuesday. Erin Trester/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — The District 518 Board of Education had its first meeting of the 2014-’15 school year Tuesday evening. 

The board was presented information on the school’s “World’s Best Workforce Plan” and had a public hearing on three property tax abatements.

Additionally, the board approved the purchase of a skid loader and utility tractor and approved surplus property in the district.

Katie Clarke, director of school improvement, highlighted a few components of the district’s plan to improve student education as part of an education initiative passed by Minnesota legislature in 2012. Clarke explained the World’s Best Workforce Plan strives to have the district meet school readiness goals; have all third-grade students achieve grade-level literacy; close the academic achievement gap among all racial and ethnic groups of students and between students living in poverty and students not living in poverty; have all students attain career and college readiness before graduating from high school; and have all students graduate from high school.

As part of the plan, the district has set a few goals for the coming school year. First, the goal is to have the percentage of students in the district who are proficient on the math Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) go from 44 percent to 56 percent in 2014.

The second goal is to have the percentage of students in the district proficient on the reading MCA increase from 42 percent to 54 percent in 2014.

Prairie Elementary hopes to see math proficiencies on the MCA increase from 56 percent in 2013 to 65 percent in 2014. Likewise, the school intends to see proficient scores on the reading MCA increase from 37 percent in 2013 to 60 percent in 2014.

Worthington Middle School aims for students acquiring growth on the reading MCA to be 65 percent this year while aiming for 80 percent to acquire medium or high growth on the math MCA. Additionally, the school strives to have all students meet the state proficiency average on the MCA science test.

Goals for Worthington High School include raising the percentage of juniors who are proficient on the math MCA from 44.9 percent to 49.9 percent and to increase the percentage of sophomores who are proficient on the reading MCA to 56.9 percent from 51.9 percent. WHS also aims to lower the number of students who fail one or more classes per term by 5 percent. The board approved the plan unanimously with Lori Dudley absent from voting. The complete report should be posted on the district website in the near future.

In other business:

  • Three property tax abatements were the subject of a public hearing prior to the board meeting. No objections were received. All three were approved by roll call vote. 
  • The district was given permission to purchase a new skid loader and utility tractor. A quote from Jaycox Implement in the amount of $43,408.76 with a $500 annual trade-in cost was the lowest for a skid loader. Meanwhile, Nobles County Equipment submitted the lowest bid for a new utility tractor in the amount of $15,600 with a trade-in allowance of $12,400.
  • The board approved a short list of items to be declared as surplus property along with a piece of land approximately 1.8 acres by 0.5 acres near the district bus garage.
Robin Baumgarn

Robin Baumgarn is a new reporter for the Daily Globe covering the Education and Northwest Iowa beats. Prior to coming to the Globe, she worked for the Ocheyedan Press-Melvin News, a weekly Iowa paper for three years. She is a 2012 graduate of Iowa Lakes Community College and lives in Northwest Iowa with her husband Ryan and three pets, Fidget, Missy and Samwise.

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